As a Somerset lass I’ve been going to Glastonbury since I was one of those
babies you see bobbing along in neon mini builders’ headphones (FYI
they barely block out the ice cream van tune let alone the main
stage. I now suffer from mild tinnitus – thanks mum and dad) whose
pram you have to strategically clamber over every time you want to
move a row back in the Pyramid crowd. I’ve been bred on pints of cider
made from actual apples rather than ones which make you feel as though
you’re supping watered-down golden syrup, wandered straight to the barrier of
Radiohead ’09 mid-‘Creep’ without getting a knuckle sandwich and known what it is not to have to hide my purse at the foot of my sleeping bag each
night. Needless to say, Reading is not my bag.
Nevertheless, this year I braved the Friday in order to take Reading virgins Warpaint down for a performance and some promo. Here they are merrily rehearsing ‘Undertow’ in the bus on the way down, unaware of what’s at the end of the motorway:
Nerves kick in when we stop at Argos to buy wellies only to be told
they’ve sold out. We pick up a few copies of The Metro instead and
discover a quarter of a million gallons of water was pumped out of the site the day before to prevent it from flooding.
We also find out the fate of the cat-in-the-wheelie-bin lady and Metro’s playlist for her.
Smelly Cat – Phoebe Buffay (Friends)
Trash – Sued
Leave My Cat Alone – The Beatles
Animal Lover – Suede
Trapped – 2Pac
Morning Has Broken – Cat Stevens
Cat In The Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe
I’m A B**ch – Meredith Brooks
Nobody Likes Me – Dark Lotus
Top Cat (theme song)
Lola – The Kinks
Stars of CCTV – Hard Fi
Living in a Box – Living in a Box
Arriving at Reading as a twenty-something-year-old I feel like a mum gate-crashing the country’s biggest GCSE results afterparty. We
plough through the hoards of tent-faced sixteen-year-olds and arrive
at our first stop, the BBC Treehouse. Here the band play a haunting
acoustic version of ‘Undertow’ for BBC 3 (check it out above) over Biffy Clyro’s thrashings over on the Main Stage.
In true Reading fashion, each band’s set is pushed back by half an
hour. I take this opportunity to check out Reading’s one redeeming feature: its new band tents. Indie’s latest dream couple Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley bring their new bedroom-penned ‘Summer Camp’ EP to the Festival Republic stage. Live, they’re blossoming faster than Liz’s jumpsuit collection (today: shimmering silver – a bold move away from her usual floral gettup). Avi Buffalo (now minus the bantering keyboard player) and Manc hipsters Egyptian Hip Hop are also among the highlights. Here’s Warpaint about to take over the Festival Republic stage (photo Dan Dennison):
Next I go in search of some nourishment and came back ten pounds
down with the best I could find: an orange Slush Puppy and a
deep-fat-fried veggie burger. Because of the arena’s layout (stages
set in a circle leaving a pit of mud in the middle for people to treck
aimlessly across), the girl who screams in my ear genuinely thinking
I’m “her from N-Dubz” and getting lost because I’d rather not pay nine
quid for a programme/map, it takes me an hour to get back.
Sodden wet, bloated with Tuborg and feeling double my age, I sit in a
bar playing Connect 4 with a toddler called Macio and his mum until
it’s time to go home. Unless I regress to a pre-pubescent or join
QOTSA, next year I’ll take the lineup and leave the rest by
experiencing Reading on TV from my sofa.